I recently tried out a new yoga studio for the first time. I felt the way many of us feel when trying something new, even when we know it will be good for us. I was so nervous to go, and that made me so annoyed because what could the harm be? At worst I wouldn’t like it and wouldn’t return. Nevertheless, my brain spun out with overthinking and I could feel my chest get tighter as my breath quickened. I even got a huge headache right before it was time to go: the perfect excuse to call it off, right? But I ignored it all because I knew it was just that bit of ego, that comfort zone trying to keep me from doing something new, and I left my cozy house. While I drove, I actively reminded myself that there was literally nothing to worry about. All I was doing at that moment was driving. I’ve done that a thousand times and it’s something I know and am comfortable with. No big deal. Then, I was there. I purposefully walked into the cool record store, then up the stairs to the studio and was met with calm lights, the smell of burning incense, slow jams, and the kindest people. Then, just like I knew it would be, it was smooth sailing.
This is such a classic example of something I think a lot of us experience on a pretty regular basis. When I want to change a habit, introduce something new, or meet new people for the first time, despite all of the logic I can consistently throw at my brain, mild panic takes over my body. The only way I know to stave it off is to be aware of it and actively try to be present, reminding myself that the only scary thing about the worry is the worry, not the actual thing itself.
Because let’s be real, most of the time once we actually get into the thing, we realize either that we can totally handle it, or that it isn’t nearly as bad/scary/whatever as we expected.
Jen Sincero talks about this in her book, “You Are a Badass.” She refers to it as the ego or the Big Snooze, and it’s basically a part of you that likes things the way they are and doesn’t want them to change. She argues that we are such powerful beings made up of the same stuff as the Universe, that when we make an attempt to change something about our lives, this ego or Big Snooze or whatever you want to call it attracts energy around us to sabotage our attempts at change.
When I first read about this, I felt so much relief. Whether you believe it or not, I think it makes perfect sense that we are living creatures made up of the same stuff around us. We are literally matter from the Universe and we have energy just like all things. It makes total sense that we could be powerful enough to flow with and use that energy, even if it is unknowingly against ourselves. Since coming home from Spain, I’ve struggled a lot to take care of myself and feel like I’m giving my body what it needs. There were so. many. times. this semester that I would finally decide to start running, to take care of myself no matter what, and then without fail, after the initial run, it would rain. For a day. A week. Always long enough for me to lose the motivation I had to start taking care of myself. This is where the relief came in upon reading Jen Sincero’s theory. First, my terrible “luck” was not a sign from the Universe that I shouldn’t be running. Second, I understood a new way of looking at the situation: there is a part of me that doesn’t like change and will try to sabotage me, and I just have to be so determined and set in my decision that I work through it until all of me understands that this is the new deal. Whether you’re totally on board for this theory or you think it’s complete nonsense and rain is rain, I think it does provide a healthy way of looking at the struggles that can come along with trying to make a positive change in our lives. We have the power. We are not stuck. There is nothing about us that is finite unless we choose to make it that way.
I want to encourage you that whatever it is you find yourself thinking about often, whatever it is you really want but can’t seem to make yourself do or get or whatever, it IS in your reach. I truly believe that anything is possible and the Universe is on your side. There may be push-back, from you or someone or something else, but think of it as a test. You just have to prove to your comfort zone that you’re going to make this lifestyle change or you’re going to go to this event and be determined, knowing that push may come, and it’s okay. You will end up on top if you just stick through it.
Try to stay present. What’s happening around you right now? Are you just driving? On a plane? Walking through your office? There is nothing hard or scary about these things. When we worry and stress, we’re not being present because we’re concerned about things that haven’t happened yet. When they’re actually happening, it’s usually pretty easy to do them and we look back going “I worried about all of that for nothing!” So, when you find yourself worrying about something, try to be present and ask yourself if there is truly anything wrong in this moment.
It’s okay and totally normal to be nervous, but never let it stop you. Some of the greatest things and moments in our lives appear right after nervousness. Take it in baby steps, and go for the thing or the life you want. It’s all out there waiting for you. All you have to do is take it, and I support you all the way.